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How Food52 tapped 13 million readers to develop its first product line

How Food52 tapped 13 million readers to develop its first product line
[Photo: Claire Benoist]

An online resource for recipes, food content, and discussion threads on culinary minutiae (such as how to store sourdough starter or fresh galangal), Food52 has grown over the past decade to reach more than 13 million monthly visitors across platforms. Taking a page from other blogs turned brands, like Glossier and WhoWhatWear, the company is now developing its own line of kitchen goods. “We’re in a category where consumers have almost no voice in the products they use,” says cofounder Amanda Hesser. The new Five Two line is the first time Food52, which has long sold products on its website, has harnessed its sales data and reader feedback to develop its own items. Five Two debuted last October with a cutting board that sold out in five days. The company, which reached roughly $30 million in 2018 revenue, plans to release nearly two dozen products by the end of the year.

Maple cutting board ($99)
After surveying 10,000 readers last fall, Food52 designed a maple-wood cutting board with two unique features: one side has deep grooves and a corner spout to more efficiently collect and pour juices; the other has a deep recess that serves as a smartphone stand.

Dish towels ($35–$74)
Food52 received 36,000 votes on its dish-towel survey. After five designs and three rounds of testing, the company landed on two offerings: a thin one, for quick hand- and dish-drying, and a thick one, to sop up messes and double as a pot holder.

Kitchen spoons
After Food52 asked readers for photos of their favorite spoons on Instagram, the Five Two team designed theirs with 13-inch handles, sharp edges for scraping food, and unique shapes, such as a narrow spoon for jars and a double-ended model with a small tasting spoon.

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